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  • Film

    ‘Ex Machina’ explores humanity as much as AI

    The Turing test features prominently in Alex Garland’s new film Ex Machina, but this is no meditation on computer science. It’s not even, ultimately, about artificial intelligence. The movie instead explores humans: the Frankenstein-like hubris involved in creating artificial beings; the power relationships between employee and boss, parent...

    05/02/2015 - 10:00 Robotics, Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    Childhood bullying leads to long-term mental health problems

    Bullying by peers scars children’s mental health over the long haul as much as — or more than — abuse by adults does, a new analysis of U.S. and British kids finds.

    By young adulthood, many victims of repeated bullying experience anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thinking and behavior. Their rates of these mental health issues are at least as high as those reported by victims...

    04/28/2015 - 15:00 Psychology
  • The Science Life

    Brain on display

    Studying the human brain requires grandiose thinking, but rarely do actual theatrical skills come into play. In her latest stint as a video star, MIT neuroscientist Nancy Kanwisher does not buzz saw her skull open to give viewers a glimpse of her brain. But she does perhaps the next best thing: She clips off her shoulder-length gray hair and shaves her head on camera.

    Kanwisher’s smooth...

    04/27/2015 - 16:06 Neuroscience, Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    A chemistry card game forges bonds

    The new strategy-based card game Ion makes a game out of chemistry. It challenges players to group positively and negatively charged ions to form compounds. Players pass around ion and noble gas cards to build the compounds and collect sets of noble gases for points.

    New to chemistry? Never fear. The card game relies on basic arithmetic of positive and negative charges to create neutral...

    04/26/2015 - 08:00 Chemistry, Science & Society
  • News

    Pots from hunter-gatherer site in China tell tale of lifestyle shift

    East Asia’s first farmers didn’t transform ancient foraging cultures as much as researchers have traditionally thought. That’s because roving groups of foragers adopted sedentary living habits first.

    New evidence suggests that hunter-gatherers living on China’s central plain made pottery and formed permanent settlements between 10,500 and 10,000 years ago, hundreds of years before a...

    04/24/2015 - 15:31 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    Ritual cannibalism occurred in England 14,700 years ago

    A grisly ritual, at least by modern standards, played out in a British cave about 14,700 years ago.

    Hunter-gatherers took the bodies of at least six of their deceased comrades to what’s now called Gough’s Cave and ate them as part of a burial rite, say biological anthropologist Silvia Bello of the Natural History Museum in London and her colleagues. Microscopic analyses show that these...

    04/24/2015 - 13:39 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Culture Beaker

    Sometimes it’s best to feed the trolls

    If you’ve been to the Internet, you’ve probably encountered a troll. That’s the nickname given to the people behind nasty or inflammatory posts in online outlets. Trolls seem to revel in sowing discord, provoking and tormenting other readers. “Don’t feed the trolls” is often considered the best response for dealing with such commenters, and data suggest that it’s effective: A recent Pew...

    04/24/2015 - 12:43 Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    To reduce stress and anxiety, make yourself invisible

    Turning someone invisible may still be the stuff of fiction, but what would invisibility feel like? Perhaps unsurprisingly, it makes people less anxious about social situations, researchers find April 23 in Scientific Reports.

    To create the sensation of being invisible, scientists designed a virtual environment that...

    04/24/2015 - 10:56 Psychology
  • Scicurious

    A peer-reviewed study finds value in peer-reviewed research

    The modern scientific process is guided and determined by peer review. A group of scientists in the field read and scrutinize a scientific manuscript before it is published. Committees of experts review plans for studies and determine whether they should be funded. The National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the European Research Council distributed nearly $40 billion...

    04/23/2015 - 18:56 Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Gene in human embryos altered by Chinese researchers

    Chinese researchers have genetically modified a gene in nonviable human embryos. The controversial work illustrates that many hurdles remain before gene editing to correct genetic diseases would be safe for clinical use, the team reports April 18 in Protein & Cell.

    The researchers used gene-editing...

    04/23/2015 - 15:29 Genetics, Science & Society